Sunil Chhetri, Captain of the Indian football team on Monday, June 7 became the second-highest active international goalscorer with 74 goals. He surpassed Argentina’s Lionel Messi with this record.
All India Football Federation (AIFF) President and FIFA Council Member, Praful Patel, shared the news on his Twitter handle and congratulated the skipper for his ‘fabulous performance’ during the team’s win over Bangladesh.
“Our Indian Football skipper Sunil Chhetri adds another feather to his illustrious cap as he overtook Lionel Messi to become the second-highest active international goalscorer with 74 goals. A big congratulations to Captain Fantastic & wishing him many more accolades in the future,” he wrote.
Captain Chhetri achieved the feat during their World Cup qualifier against Bangladesh. He scored two goals in 13 minutes to help India seal a 2-0 victory, India’s first win in a World Cup qualifier away from home since 2001.
Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju, also congratulated Chhetri, writing, “Congratulations to Sunil Chhetri for overtaking Messi to become 2nd highest active international Goal-scorer! I enjoyed his brilliant 2 goals against Bangladesh which secured a win for India and put him on to 74 international goals.”
Chhetri is only behind Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo in the all-time goal scorer’s list among active players in international football.
India’s goalkeeper and Chhetri’s teammate, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu said, “I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve walked out of the tunnel with this man in front of me, for both, country and club, filled with an unreal sense of security that he will deliver when we need it the most. He just keeps turning up over and over again.”
Meanwhile, India has 6 points in Group E in the Asian Qualifiers after their win over Bangladesh at the 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup joint qualifiers in Doha, Qatar.